Includes more than 25 maps and illustrations.
During World War II, a variety of new and experimental units were organized by Marine Corps to enhance the capabilities of the Corps. For the first time under one cover, this historical reference pamphlet tells of the development, deployment, and eventual demise of the five types of special units: raiders, parachutists, glider forces, barrage balloon squadrons, and base defense battalions. Official records of the Marine Corps and appropriate historical works were utilized in compiling this chronicle.
Among the proudest traditions of the United States Marine Corps is the legend “First to Fight.” This recognized ability to deploy effective forces in a minimum of time to meet any contingency is not easily maintained. It requires a careful evaluation of international trends and a constant reappraisal of the tactics and forces necessary to meet any crisis. The types of forces which must be maintained, and the structure of these forces, must be reviewed and updated.
During the middle and late 1930s, concurrently with the Japanese expansion into northern China, the Marine Corps studied and refined its amphibious doctrine. Subsequently, the Corps stepped up its experimentation with new theories and methods to meet world-wide contingencies. Especially in the aftermath of the outbreak of war in Europe, the United States military establishment undertook a reexamination of its resources and capabilities. The Marines were among the most aggressive when it came to adapting current forces to future requirements.
A number of the units which emerged from this period, and from the early war years, were either overtaken by events during the course of the war, or never lived up to their original promise. In these cases, the Marine Corps reorganized or disbanded the units as dictated by the tactical requirements. This monograph traces the origin, formation, deployment, and eventual demise of five such units.